Queensland Country holds top spot on the overall table with one game to play in the 2017 Commonwealth Bank Australian Country Cricket Championships men’s division, after scoring a three-wicket win to leapfrog New South Wales Country today.
With NSW Country attempting to hold onto first place in the standings and QLD Country sitting second, the game was crucial for both sides’ title chances.
Batting first, NSW Country fell to a disastrous 4-7 at Figtree Oval after some accurate and disciplined bowling by the Queenslanders.
They were saved by Patrick Darwen, who played a marvellous anchoring innings of 100 not out as NSW Country recovered to a respectable 8-178 from its 50 overs.
QLD Country found runs hard to come by in their chase, before an important partnership between Sean Fitzsimmons (54) and Ben O’Connell (43) steadied the ship. Both fell before the finish, however the QLD Country lower order saw their side home.
The result leaves four sides in the hunt to claim the overall men’s division title - QLD Country (21 points), NSW Country (19), VIC Country (18) and SA Country (17).
At Hollymount Park, South Australia Country's Ben Pengelley starred with the bat to keep his side alive with a 51-run win against Western Australia Country.
Pengelley posted 88 from just 82 balls - his fifth half century of the tournament.
Along with some useful contributions by Ben Smith (52) and Dion Stratford (32), SA Country was able to post 243, before dismissing WA Country for 192.
Michael Allen's 88 helped Victoria Country keep their title hopes alive, recording a comfortable 121-run win over East Asia-Pacific.
The Victorians posted an intimidating 7-268, with Cameron Taylor (48 not out from 37 balls) playing well in the latter part of the innings.
East Asia-Pacific was never in the contest as it folded to be 147 all out, with skipper Ben Boyd and Tom Mathieson collecting three wickets a piece.
The final round of matches will be played tomorrow.
In the women's division, NSW Country, SA Country, East Asia-Pacific and VIC Country won their way through to the semi-finals, which began at 6pm tonight.
VIC Country and NSW Country were facing off at University Oval, while SA Country and East Asia-Pacific were playing at North Dalton Park.
In the morning matches, SA Country won a thrilling match against VIC Country by four runs, with Casey Galbraith (5-13) the star with the ball.
Norma Ovasuru's 41 not out helped East Asia- Pacific to an eight-wicket win over QLD Country. Earlier in the match, East Asia-Pacific had done an excellent job restricting Queensland to 9-81 from its 20 overs.
NSW Country’s Rachel Cady hit 41 not out to help her side record an eight-wicket win over Western Australia with five overs to spare.
For fixtures, results, ladders and statistics throughout the 2017 Commonwealth Bank Australian Country Cricket Championships, head to www.countrychamps.com.au
Men’s division - Round 9
SA Country 243 (B. Pengelley 88, B. Smith 52, J. Crudeli 3-40, N. Crudeli 3-44) def WA Country 192 (J. Whitney 52, J. Crudeli 44, A. Frick 3-29)
VIC Country 7-268cc (M. Allen 88, C. Taylor 48*, J. Best 42) def East Asia-Pacific 147 (J. Kila 37, T. Mathieson 3-16, B. Boyd 3-30)
NSW Country 8-178cc (P. Darwen 100*, S. Winton 3-13) def by QLD Country 7-180 (S. Fitzsimmons 54, B. O’Connell 43)
Women’s division - Round 7
WA Country 4-98cc (S. Williams 47*, L. Griffith 2-15) def NSW Country 2-99 (R. Cady 41*)
SA Country 8-83cc (E. Gallagher 3-12, L. Croft 2-13) def VIC Country 8-79cc (C. Galbraith 5-13)
QLD Country 9-81cc (C. Cooper 29, V. Frank 2-12) def by East Asia-Pacific 2-82 (N. Ovasuru 41*)
by Jack Clifton